The Big 12 Conference has assigned a female official to work one of its games for the first time in league history.
Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday that Catherine “Cat” Conti will be on the crew for Kansas’ season opener at home Sept. 6 against Southeast Missouri State.
While calling this a good opportunity for Conti and the league, Bowlsby says Big 12 officiating supervisor Walt Anderson assigned Conti “because she is just a darned good official.”
“She is not there because she is a female. She is there because she’s paid her dues and because she is a really outstanding football official,” he said.
“This is a good opportunity for her and a good opportunity for us, and I don’t think you’ll really notice much about how the officiating is done on the game. But it’s significant that she’s doing it.”
Kansas coach Charlie Weis jokingly said he’ll try not to use as many curse words during the game.
Conti started working high-school games in 2000, according to USA Today. She wants to become an NFL official.
“That’s the ultimate dream,” Conti said “But if this Big 12 game is the highest I ever get, it’s certainly been a great career.”
“They’ve allowed me to develop,” Conti said. “I’ve never walked on a football field and felt I was over my head.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.